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Opinion Roundup: Calls to remove North Carolina's confederate monuments

Posted August 16

A group of protesters in Durham toppled a Confederate monument Monday evening.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the future of North Carolina's confederate monuments, more opposition toward offshore drilling along the state's coast, a renewed focus on the importance of classroom resources for teachers and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
GOV. ROY COOPER: North Carolina Monuments (Medium column) -- Last weekend, I watched with horror as events in Charlottesville unfolded. Having served as North Carolina Attorney General for 16 years, I am all too familiar with the racism, bigotry and full-out white supremacy that exist in corners of our society. But it was shocking to watch these elements displayed so publicly — venom and hatred shamelessly spewed in epithets. My stomach sank to learn that a peaceful counter-protester had been killed and many others injured as the hatred morphed into violence.

Confederate monuments must go – in an orderly way (Charlotte Observer) -- We don’t condone protesters tearing down a Durham Confederate monument. But Trump’s remarks Tuesday only make it more urgent that they be removed.

CASEY BLAKE: Burr and the banality of vague condemnations (Asheville Citizen-Times column) -- Only one side planned a march in the name of hatred and racial supremacy, bearing the same symbolic torches that illuminated the vilest moments in Southern history. And only one side plowed into a crowd, taking a life and injuring many more. Some lawmakers, like Mark Meadows, Thom Tillis and Patrick McHenry, took the low hanging fruit dangling in front of them and did the right thing, renouncing that evil, specifically, in its most glaring form. Others, including the president and North Carolina's own Sen. Richard Burr, did not.

MICHAEL NEWCITY: Rename or remove Confederate memorials? Start with Army bases like Fort Bragg (Charlotte Observer column) -- After Charlottesville, a focus is on removing Confederate memorials. Start by renaming Fort Bragg and other U.S. Army bases named for Confederate generals.

Woman confronts N.C. man with Nazi flag at home (Washington Post analysis) -- A woman confronted a N.C. man about why he has a Nazi flag in front of his home on Aug. 13 in Mount Holly.

JONATHAN M. KATZ: Protester Arrested in Toppling of Confederate Statue in Durham (New York Times analysis) -- Sheriff’s deputies in this predominantly liberal city on Tuesday began arresting protesters they said tore down a statue honoring pro-slavery secessionists, while the state’s Democratic governor pledged to repeal a state law that had prevented such monuments from being removed through legal means.

KAREN L. COX: Why Confederate Monuments Must Fall (New York Times column) -- Activists in Durham, N.C., tired of waiting for local leaders to decide what to do about a statue of a Confederate soldier downtown, on Monday literally took matters into their own hands, yanking it off its pedestal and then kicking it, as if trying to beat it into submission. A North Carolina law passed in 2015 prohibits the removal of these monuments, yet the prospect of being prosecuted for doing just that was not a deterrent.

RON NIXON and EILEEN SULLIVAN: Revocation of Grants to Help Fight Hate Under New Scrutiny After Charlottesville (New York Times analysis) -- A nearly $900,000 grant to the University of North Carolina to combat Muslim extremists and white supremacist recruiting was also canceled by the Trump administration, without explanation. The grant to Life After Hate was one of 31 awarded under the Obama administration to combat violent extremism, and it was the only one focused exclusively on the rehabilitation of former neo-Nazis and other white supremacist group members.

LINDA QIU: Trump Asks, ‘What About the Alt-Left?’ Here’s an Answer (New York Times analysis) -- Antifa and black block — the far left of today — engaging in street brawls and property damage, while reprehensible, is “not domestic terrorism,” said J. J. MacNab, a fellow in the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. Similar episodes of extreme violence certainly exist on the left including the bombing of the N.C. Republican Party headquarters.

JIM BRUMM: Speech, then guns (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Speech, then guns. That’s the way the founding fathers of our great nation put it. Freedom of speech is the lead amendment of the ten that make up the Bill of Rights adopted along with the constitution which over two centuries has become the oldest document governing a nation. Although legislators cannot abridge free speech, they can – and have – set liabilities for irresponsible speech with libel and slander laws.

TYLER DUKES: Governor's Office, media coalition settle records suit (WRAL-TV analysis) -- A coalition of media and advocacy groups that sued former Gov. Pat McCrory's administration over alleged violations of the state's public records law has now settled the claim with the state after a two-year court battle.

What’s best for us (Greensboro News & Record) -- Republican legislators in charge of court-ordered redistricting told us two things last week: They’ll do what’s best for themselves first and their party second.

Law, and Order, in Animal Operations (Southern Pines Pilot) -- One of the most thankless tasks in local government is animal control. About the best you can hope from your charges is a lick on the face. And you best be cautious of the human advocates; they’re the ones who can bite you in the seat of your pants.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
NEEL KELLER: OBX vows to fight offshore drilling (Outer Banks Sentinel analysis) -- Residents, activists warn of 'catastrophic' consequences.

JOHN DOWNEY: New renewable resource in the wind for Duke Energy Carolinas (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- Duke Energy Carolinas plans to purchase up to 500 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2022, and has asked wind developers for bids to provide it.

NEEL KELLER: Keeping a wary eye on wind farms (Outer Banks Sentinel analysis) -- Several companies developing wind farm projects in northeastern North Carolina are taking a wait-and-see approach after Governor Roy Cooper recently signed a bill with an 18-month moratorium on such projects, but then issued an order allowing “behind the scenes work” to continue during that moratorium.

BRAD RICH: Reefs As Carbon Sinks? Location Matters (Coastal Review column) -- Researchers at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences have found that oyster reefs may help in mitigating climate change, but near-shore reefs sequester carbon better than others.

EDUCATION
ALEX GRANADOS: Wherefore art thou school supplies? (EdNC column) -- In the wake of Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement last week of a statewide supply drive for schools, the issue of classroom resources moved front and center.

Hooked on good teachers (Winston-Salem Journal) -- With the start of the school year coming fast, it’s worth noting that many of our teachers are always working at reaching our children in innovative ways. Earlier this summer, the Journal’s Tim Clodfelter gave us a story that’s a strong reminder of that.

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